Dr. Zebulon M. Highben is an award-winning composer, conductor, and educator.

He is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.


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Dr. Zebulon M. Highben is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Muskingum University, a liberal arts college of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in New Concord, Ohio. He leads Muskingum’s choral program and teaches conducting, choral methods, choral literature, and applied voice and composition.

Zebulon previously taught at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, Luther Seminary, and Michigan State University, where he was a graduate teaching assistant in both the choral and musicology departments. He has over fifteen years of experience as a full- and part-time church musician, serving Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. From 2005-2014, he was the Paul Bouman Endowed Chapel Choir Director at the annual Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, where he conducted the Chapel Choir, taught courses in church music, and designed and coordinated the annual hymn festival.

Choirs under Zebulon's direction have toured domestically and internationally and have been featured at numerous conferences and festivals, including ACDA of Minnesota, the Ohio Choral Directors Association, the Ohio Music Education Association, and the St. Olaf College Choral Festival. He has served as a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer throughout the United States, and in 2016 represented the U.S. as a Conducting Fellow in ACDA's International Conductors Exchange Program (ICEP) with South Korea. In 2015, he won the American Prize in Conducting (College/University Chorus Division) for his work with the Muskingum Concert Choir and Chamber Singers.

Zebulon's choral and liturgical music is frequently commissioned and widely performed by schools, churches, and arts organizations. More than fifty of his works are published by Augsburg Fortress, Boosey & Hawkes, Colla Voce, GIA, and MorningStar Music, and in Sweden by Gehrmans Musikförlag. Honors include the Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition (2011), a Faith Partners residency grant from the American Composers Forum (2011-2012), numerous ASCAP Performance Plus Awards, and Finalist standing for the American Prize in Choral Composition (2014). 

His scholarly research is published in the Choral Journal, the Bulletin for the Council on Research in Music Education, Cross Accent, and TRIAD.  He compiled and edited the Augsburg Motet Book (2013) and the Augsburg Chorale Book (2017), and co-edited With a Voice of Singing: Essays on Children, Choirs, and Music in the Church, a Festschrift in honor of Ronald A. Nelson. He also contributed to the fourth volume of Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir.

A native of Ohio, Zebulon studied music education at Ohio State University, graduating magna cum laude and with departmental distinction. He earned the Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary with St. Olaf College, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from Michigan State University, where he was a recipient of both the Charles K. Smith Fellowship in Choral Conducting and the Robert A. Harris Award for Excellence in Choral Performance. His primary teachers include Hilary Apfelstadt, Anton Armstrong, James Gallagher, David Rayl, Jonathan Reed, Robert Scholz, and Sandra Snow (conducting); David Cherwien and Ronald A. Nelson (composition); and John Ferguson and Paul Westermeyer (church music).

Zebulon serves on the board of the Ohio Choral Directors Association and the Advisory Council for the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University. He is a rostered deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.